After speaking with two people close to former #Eagles coach Doug Pederson, it sounds like this is what it boiled down: Pederson was sick of people telling him what to do.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 11, 2021
It was previously reported that Pederson was expected to return for the 2021 season.
However, that report included the caveat that Pederson had a meeting scheduled with team owner Jeffrey Lurie. Sources tell me that Pederson “failed” his initial exit interview. Pederson then met with Lurie again in South Florida on Monday but the head coach was clearly unable to convince the owner to retain him. Lurie seemingly wasn’t sold on Pederson’s vision, which reportedly included a number of internal promotions.
Pederson’s departure comes after a disappointing 4-11-1 finish by the Eagles in 2020. The team ranked 27th in offensive points per game and tied for 28th in yards per play despite being third in offensive spending. Pederson had no answers to help Carson Wentz, who played like the NFL’s worst starting quarterback prior to being benched for rookie Jalen Hurts.
But to suggest Pederson was to blame for the entirety of the Eagles’ struggles would be misguided.
Howie Roseman is certainly culpable for building a roster that is bad, old, expensive, and inflexible. There’s a strong case to be made he was a bigger problem than Pederson. Unfortunately, Lurie reportedly didn’t even give consideration to replacing the Eagles’ general manager.
As for Wentz, his struggles can’t be blamed on Pederson alone. Especially when the quarterback is said to have a heavy influence over the Eagles’ offense. Not to mention concerns about Wentz being coachable.
On that note, one must consider Wentz’s role in Pederson’s dismissal. It was previously reported that the quarterback’s relationship with the head coach was “fractured beyond repair.” It was said that Wentz was expected to request a trade, although another report emerged indicating he was still mulling his future. One can only wonder if Wentz put the Eagles in a position to choose between either him or Pederson returning. If that’s the case, it’s certainly a bold choice for the Eagles to part with the only head coach who delivered a Vince Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia.
Then again, it’s hardly incomprehensible that his time in Philly had run its course. It’s possible both sides could benefit from a change. It sure wouldn’t be shocking to see Pederson experience success elsewhere. Maybe the Eagles will improve to some extent under a new head coach.
Or maybe the Eagles will come to realize that their issues go way beyond coaching.
Ultimately, it’s sad to see Pederson go. Expectations were very low when he was first hired back in 2016. Pederson defied the doubters by leading the Eagles to a championship win with a backup quarterback. For that there should always be reverence for his legacy, which is commemorated in part by a statue of him (and Nick Foles, also no longer with the team) standing right outside Lincoln Financial Field.
Thanks for the memories, Doug, and best wishes to you moving forward.
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Make sure to stay tuned to BGN for more developments and full coverage of the Eagles’ search for Pederson’s replacement.